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Business News/ Weekend / Hand-picked reads for your long weekend
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Hand-picked reads for your long weekend

Best of the Week, 12 August: inflationary woes, financial frauds galore, and saving tax on your salary.

Mint's Best of the WeekPremium
Mint's Best of the Week

Dear reader,

It seems that the upcoming long weekend is what anyone wants to talk about. With a national holiday on Tuesday (for journalists too!), most folks I know are taking an off on Monday to make it a four-day break. Some are travelling, some are choosing to catch up on sleep.

Me? I will probably catch up on some work, and learn how to make coffee. I need to reduce my spending on coffee chains. A little atma-nirbharta, if you will.

Leading up to Independence Day, Mint's newsroom had a cracking line-up of stories too. Here's some handpicked stories to add to your reading list for the coming mini-vacation:

โš ๏ธ We invited two guest writers write about financial fraud. Financial journalist and frequent Mint contributor Aprajita Sharma wrote about how insurance fraud runs rampant, costing the industry nearly a $1 billion โ€” money that otherwise could have eased people's financial worries. Industry professionals told Sharma that fraud constitutes nearly 10-15% of all claims filed annually, a worrying figure.

๐Ÿ˜ช In Indore, an advisory firm named Money Market Manthan was recently barred by the Securities and Exchange Board of India for defrauding investors. The firm promised profits to investors โ€” an unwise move for any advisor to make. We invited Sreedhar Manek, writer of the newsletter Boring Money, to write about this scam and its ramifications on India's financial systems.

We also had a few pieces detailing the ailing condition of India's economy, primarily headlined by the rising inflation rate. Read Gopika Gopakumar's Explainer and Manjul Paul's poll-based report.

๐Ÿ’ธ Our partners at How India Lives wrote about the rising share of retails loans โ€” loans given out to individuals or common people, rather than businesses โ€” in India's overall debt mix. Currently, these loans make up nearly a third of the total share, as compared to 18% in 2014. With weak incomes, this could turn into the next big debt crisis.

๐Ÿค‘ Our national editor Shayan Ghosh took a detailed look at the situation. Looking specifically at rural loans and those taken by small businesses, the picture gets worse. Rural slowdown is imminent, as shown by a fall in two- and three-wheelers. SBI and other NBFCs have also pointed to stress in some sectors. After a binge over the last few years, lenders have turned cautious.

๐Ÿ… Inflation, especially food inflation that affects common grocery items such as rice and vegetables, is the proverbial final nail in the coffin for India's public at large. The cost of the humble vegetarian thali โ€” a go-to for any Indian dining option โ€” has surged by 28% in July, wrote correspondent Puja Das. Tomatoes remained the main culprit, with current prices still cross โ‚น100 per kilogram in most metro cities. What effect might this have on upcoming elections in states and at the national level? ๐Ÿค”

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ>๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต? These microeconomic woes contrast sharply against India's macro growth. Vivek Kaul, author of Bad Money, writes about India's hopes to become the third-largest economy in the world by 2029. At a GDP of $2.95 trillion, India is currently trailing US, China, Japan, Germany, and the UK, India is almost certain to jump to the fourth place in a couple of years. Then comes the challenge of the slow-growing but disciplined Japan. Despite the overall growth, an average Indian is much worse off than its Western and Eastern counterparts. The micro versus macro battle rages on.

๐Ÿ’ป The government is trying various measures to grow the economy by leaps and bounds. One path it has committed to is implementing production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes across sectors, hoping to attract global companies to make India a manufacturing hub ร  la China. To promote the manufacturing of IT hardware, the government went about a puzzling way: first, imposing a haphazard import fee on laptops and tablets, and then a day later, pushing the implementation to November. Mint's senior editor N. Madhavan writes about this decision, and asks a pertinent question: is it a move to promote Make in India, or a return to the License Raj era?

๐Ÿ›œ One big winner from government's PLI scheme is the one to manufacture mobile phones in India. It found takers because of India's growing smartphone and mobile internet usage. Mint's data journalist Shuja Asrar illustrates the paradoxical nature of India's internet boom. With one of the cheapest mobile internet rates anywhere in the world, India is also prone to frequent shutdowns with extremely poor penetration.

๐Ÿ“š In contrast to the struggles of common folk, India's corporates are doing quite well. The Sensex and Nifty are up 6.85% and 6.86% respectively this year. Companies are mandated to spend at least 2% of their net profits towards corporate social responsibility (CSR spending). India Inc's FY22 spending remained at that level, flat year-on-year. Most of the spending went towards educational initiatives, followed by healthcare and disaster management. Interestingly, the Prime Minister's relief fund also found widespread takers. Niti Kiran and Payal Bhattacharya from Mint's data journalism team present the CSR numbers in five succinct charts.

๐Ÿ’ฐ I'll end this week's list with one of Mint's most read articles from the past week: on how to structure your salary. Aprajita Sharma, who also wrote the aforementioned piece on insurance fraud, writes about the various components on your salary, and the most exciting bit of them all: how to save tax using these components. Who doesn't like more money in hand?

That's all for this week. I hope you enjoy a splendid long weekend.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, coffee-making tips, or feedback on our journalism (or subscription), please feel free to write to me (shashwat.mohanty@htdigital.in). We're a perpetually evolving news product, so any and every input is appreciated!

Best,

Shashwat Mohanty

Assistant Editor

Subscriber Experience Team

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shashwat Mohanty
Shashwat works in the Subscriptions team, often thinking and executing ideas that could get people to pay for news. He is interested in editorial-led iniatives, as he believes that genuined journalism is still extremely valuable. He is a co-writer of Mint's flagship newsletter, Top of the Morning, and also writes the script of the podcast by the same name. Shashwat is also the producer and acontributer to the Best of the Week newsletter. When he's not missing deadlines, he likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and complaining about the mileage of his car.
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Published: 12 Aug 2023, 12:43 AM IST
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